‘Survivors of sepsis are in need of ongoing help’ says Harpenden survivor

Elisabeth Grover

Elisabeth Grover - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden woman who survived a “catastrophic” bout of sepsis is calling for more support to help survivors after they have left hospital.

Elisabeth Grover, 48, was diagnosed with sepsis a year ago after waking up with severe abdominal pain, and since recovery has suffered with after-effects from the condition.

She said: “I was fit and healthy so it was a bit of a shock. I went to Luton and Dunstable Hospital and found out I had a kidney stone and it had blocked the tube.

“This had caused blood poisoning and septic shock. I needed some extra support so I went to the high-dependency unit. When I was a bit better I was taken to theatre to help repair my kidney and post-operatively I had a heart attack.

“It was all quite catastrophic at the time. It came out of nowhere which is the message that we are trying to get across- that it can just suddenly happen.

“I had lots of support when I left hospital because of the heart attack but there was nothing for the sepsis. It tends to be different doctors who deal with it so there isn’t really much once you leave hospital.

“I’ve had extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain and real cognitive difficulties - I have really noticed a difference. I have continuing chest pain and breathlessness.”

Most Read

Following recent sepsis storylines on The Archers and Call The Midwife, Elisabeth, who lives in Falconers Field and works as a reflexologist, hopes to raise awareness of the condition.

She has started a support group to help other survivors who have been discharged from hospital and need ongoing support.

“People describe the same body of symptoms, which is now known as post-sepsis syndrome. The Sepsis Trust has been promoting identifying signs in children and now they are looking at adults.

“More people are surviving because it has been noticed quickly, so there are a lot more adults because it doesn’t discriminate on age. There are a lot of working-age adults who are struggling with symptoms which make it difficult to work.”

The Herts Ad previously followed the story of two-year-old Tyler Reader, from Harpenden, who tragically died from on 6 November 2015 after developing sepsis following a chest infetion.

Tyler fell ill on November 2 with a sore throat and his condition deteriorated rapidly. He was put into a medically-induced coma and suffered six heart attacks.

His dad Stephen has subsequently raised more than £21,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the UK Sepsis Trust in his son’s memory.

The UK Sepsis trust warns that sepsis initially looks like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection, and to seek medical help urgently if you develop any of the following:

Slurred speech or confusion,

Extreme shivering or muscle pain,

Passing no urine (in a day),

Severe breathlessness,

It feels like you’re going to die, or

Skin mottled or discoloured.

Signs of sepsis in children include a fever or a very low temperature, breathing fast, convulsions, a mottled, bluish or pale appearance, a rash that does not fade when you press it, lethargy and feeling abnormally cold to touch.

Those experiencing symptoms or observing them in children are advised to seek medical help and ask “could it be sepsis?” The condition can be easily treated if caught early.

Anyone who has been affected by sepsis is invited to join the Beds, Herts and Bucks Sepsis Support Group, which will meet from 7.30pm to 9pm on Wednesday, March 28, Wednesday, April 25, Wednesday, May 23 and Wednesday, June 27. The venue is to be confirmed.

For more information contact Elisabeth on 07794351958 or email elisabeth@thegardensanctuary.co.uk